Rose Hips. They’re found in most coastal areas- easily spotted by their bulbous prickly balls that are brilliant shades of orange and red. The roses that grow on the same bush are often bright fushia, purple or a soft white. They are a staple plant in a coastal town like mine.
I’ve been thinking a lot about forging lately, probably because the season of canning is upon us and I was trying to figure out what was edible and what was not. It turns out- most things are. After watching this show “Rosemary & Thyme” (my mom and sister are probably rolling on the floor right now)- I decided to look up the real life Rosemary- a ‘famous’ herbalist who writes on foraging, making natural remedies and how to plant healing gardens (These books would make a fab gift). Turns out, Americans have been eating Rose hips since pilgrim time. They were dried and made into teas or poultices, candied, or boiled down and made into jam. That sounds like my kind of project!
Last weekend I was up at the Cape with family, a friend and her daughter when I expressed my need to pick rose hips and make jelly. My brother and father daringly agreed to watch the girls and us three ladies went- not very far to get picking.
I had said we wouldn’t need gardening gloves- I was wrong. You do- the prickers on this bush suck- invest in gloves. Since there was an over abundance we picked 4 pints in under 20 minutes, even without gloves.
I drove home with my bounty and starting looking up recipes. They ALL seemed to contain pectin (for jelly, not jam) which I hate to use, but decided to try it. They also all required an insane amount of sugar. So I modified a couple of recipes to make my own- this is what you’ll need:
6 cups rose hips, trimmed
3 cups water
1 lemon, squeezed
1 pkg sure jell pectin
2 1/2 cups sugar
Trim your rose hips (cut all the gnarly bits off) and put into a high rimmed large sauté pan. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once a rolling boil is achieved turn down heat to simmer and simmer for 1 hour. WARNING: your house is going to stink. I made this recipe twice and both times during the simmer process the house smelled of rotting fruit- delightful, I know- but truck on, the end result is worth it!
Next you’ll need a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. You need to strain juice through strainer/cloth into a non-reactive bowl so that no seeds, pulp or skin get into your jelly. You should have 2 cups of liquid. Wash out sauté pan and reuse. Add liquid back into pan and stir pectin into warm liquid. I find powder pectin kind of hard to work with so I may invest in the liquid kind next time. Turn heat on low and add lemon juice and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring liquid to a hard boil- boil for 1 minute then remove from heat.
Add mixture to sterilized jars. (this made 3 jars for me) Wipe down sides, close up jars and seal in a water bath for 10 minutes.
I tasted while the jelly was still warm but ate it for breakfast this morning. It’s delightfully tropical tasting- similar to hibiscus AND has a large amount of vitamin C!
Z loved making this (and all) jams. Since this is the first time we’ve strained the mixture to get the clear, translucent orange hue- I let her do the straining. Not too messy.
This morning she forgo her bagel and cream cheese to have a bagel and rose hip jelly!
The label on my jelly reads ‘beach plum’ while I was labeling my mind was already on my next forage…beach plums- anyone local know where I can pick some?